Class-struggle organising at London Labour conference

By Rick Parnet

When delegates to the upcoming London Labour Party conference (2-3 March, Haringey) voted which topics to prioritise for debate, they could not choose Brexit – since there was nothing on Brexit included in the motions document.

Labour for a Socialist Europe activists have been trying to find out what happened. At the moment the information we have is that Streatham CLP voted to submit the L4SE/Another Europe is Possible model motion on Brexit. We would assume there were other Brexit motions submitted. L4SE will be making a fuss and seeking to get emergency motions submitted to the conference.

Denied the opportunity to prioritise Brexit, CLP delegates chose the following topics for debate: climate change, housing, local government austerity. Affiliated unions prioritised workers’ rights and racism and the far right. And delegates from both sections prioritised crime and policing, where motions have been submitted with two distinct approaches, one calling for more police funding (ASLEF) and another emphasising social provision (Camberwell and Peckham).

The general thrust of the motions submitted is very much to the left, although when you read them carefully they are often a bit woolly. Momentum promoted a few model motions – not very hard it would seem given its reach – which exemplify this trend.

In addition to the L4SE Brexit motion, radical motions promoted by The Clarion on local government funding (Tooting), Labour councils and migrants/’No recourse to public funds’ (Bethan Green and Bow, Lewisham Deptford) and workers’ rights (Communication Workers’ Union) were included in topics prioritised for debate and, according to initial reports from compositing meetings, the key sections have made it into the final motions.

If that’s right, it means the conference will vote on calls for full reversal of council cuts and a real campaign to win that; for councils to break their links with Home Office ‘hostile environment’ policies and for an end to NRPF more generally; and for campaigning to support precarious workers’ struggles and win repeal of all the anti-union laws

Class-struggle left activists will be organising activity around the conference, much of it linked to motions submitted.

There will be a fringe meeting on Labour councils and NRPF, organised by the CLP activists who submitted the policy with the Labour Campaign for Free Movement. And although Hackney South’s motion criticising Sadiq Khan‘s record on Transport for London cuts and attacking London transport workers was not in a prioritised zone, London Transport RMT organisations are still organising a lobby of the conference to build pressure on Khan.

Winning left majorities on the London regional board and conference arrangements committee is important. For the left slate of candidates, see here. But, particularly given the political strength of those candidates is uneven, establishing left policy, winning firm commitments to actual campaigning and support for struggles, and organising the left around such proposals is even more important.

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